what do you think of this PCT advice and information? Im not sure about the HCG advice since everyone here says you should do HCG during your cycle instead of just before PCT? Some useful info here though.
HOW TO PROPERLY CYCLE OFF STEROIDS WHILE KEEPING YOUR GAINS
By: Jonathan Deprospo
The biggest pit fall many people encounter when using a cycle of steroids is the course of action taken once the cycle is complete. Many people will start a cycle without fully researching the topic of steroid cycling for bodybuilders, and the intricate details seem to get left behind.
Bodybuilders and weight lifting enthusiasts in gyms around the world will hop on a cycle of steroids without even knowing what the word Anti-estrogen means (although more and more people are starting to see the merit of using these drugs) and when the side effects hit, all the blame goes to the drugs that they took and not the fact that they poorly planed their cycle.
Every cycle you embark on should be properly planed for the goals that you wish to achieve, and you should also have the necessary drugs for post cycle and also during cycle for estrogen control.
This will make a difference like night and day compared to using steroids without any auxiliary drugs.
Employing an anti-estrogen during your cycle to control estrogen related water retention, and gynecomastia is a must, and I feel people shouldn't embark on a course of anabolic/androgenic steroids without using a drug for this purpose.
When finishing your cycle an anti-estrogen should continue to be used during your recovery phase because of the fact that your testosterone levels will be very low at this point, and you will have an elevated level of estrogen hormone in your system.
By using an anti-estrogen during this time, you will be able to keep your estrogen levels to a minimum so you will avoid post cycle side effects such as water retention, gynecomastia, depression, sickness, and acne.
At the same time you must employ a drug to help raise your testosterone levels to a normal level as quickly as possible. By using a drug for this purpose you will be able to retain the majority of your gains made on your cycle when the cycle is complete, and avoid the loss of gains from coming off AAS.
In this article I will outline the different drugs used for the two purposes mentioned above. The first is Anti-Estrogens rated from the most effective, to the least effective. I will then discuss the two drugs used to raise testosterone levels back to normal. And finally I will outline a few different post cycle protocols that will help you minimize side effects from your cycle, and also help you to keep your gains made while on ASS while avoiding the dreaded "post cycle crash."
(from most effective to least effective)
Arimidex or Femara
Arimidex is an anti-aromatize drug used while on anabolic/androgenic steroids to help prevent water retention (edema) and Gynecomastia (bitch tits) build up that is a common side effect of using drugs such as synthetic testosterone and androgenic drugs. Arimidex's mechanism of action is by blocking the aromatize enzyme, which will block the production of the hormone estrogen.
This drug is also used for the weeks after your cycle while on a post cycle therapy regimen for the same purpose for using it while on the AAS. Arimidex has a half-life of 3 days, so many will administer it everyday (ED) to every other day (EOD). If it is being used everyday most bodybuilders will use .25mg to 1mg, and if used EOD .5mg to 1mg is the recommended dose. This will vary if you are using other anti-estrogens while using the Arimidex, and also the amount you are willing to use due to the cost of the drug.
Femara has very similar characteristics as Arimidex, but some believe that it is more effective at estrogen control. Most users report no water retention what so ever while using this drug, and in some studies it is shown to slightly raise IGF-1 levels, unlike a drug like Nolvadex, which has been shown to decrease them slightly. The normal dose for Femara is 2.5mg ED to every third day during cycle and also during post cycle recovery periods.
Novadex is usually employed during cycles of Anabolic/Androgenic steroid cycles due to the fact that the hormone estrogen will become elevated from the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. When this problem arises many male bodybuilders will use Nolvadex to combat feminization symptoms such as gynecomastia, increased fat deposition, and also high levels of water retention.
For the most part though, Nolvadex is used to prevent gynecomastia build up. This is because Nolvadex acts on the estrogen receptors of the effected body tissue, so in turn it will prevent the bonding on the estrogen hormone to the receptor on the tissue.
Unlike Arimidex and Femara, Nolvadex does not act as an anti-aromatize drug, but rather acts as an estrogen antagonist. This drug will not prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. It will only fight it at the receptor level. This right here goes to show why drugs like Arimidex and Femara are far more superior drugs to use during a cycle than Nolvadex.
Nolvadex is a very effective drug to use when discontinuing your steroid cycle due to the fact that it will help reduce the side effects from the elevated levels of estrogen in your body. When you come of steroids the relationship between the levels of testosterone compared to estrogen become "out of whack" so to speak.
Since you have discontinued the steroids your testosterone levels will become severely reduced, which in turn will raise your estrogen levels to become the dominant hormone in your system. This is a very good time to use a drug such as Nolvadex to combat this problem.
Doses of Nolvadex should range from 20mg.-40mg. Per day. If you are using it post cycle without a drug such as Arimidex I would suggest using 40mg. ED to EOD. If you are using it during your cycle for gynecomastia prevention 20mg. ED should suffice. Prices of this drug are usually fairly reasonable compared to Arimidex or Femara, but I still feel Nolvadex doesn't compare to drugs such as Arimidex or Femara.
Proviron is a strange drug due to the fact that it has many different uses in the bodybuilding world. In this article the main feature I will discuss is its effective properties as an anti-estrogen during a steroid cycle.
Proviron is used during a cycle of steroids because it acts as an anti-estrogen in that due to the drug's unique structure it has a higher affinity to the aromatize enzyme than testosterone, but at the same time it does not convert to estrogen.
This in turn means that if you administer Proviron with testosterone, Proviron will bind to the aromatize enzyme very strongly, which will not allow the testosterone to convert to estrogen and bind with the receptor. This will prevent the usual estrogen build up seen with testosterone like compounds.
Due to Proviron's mechanism of action, using steroids and employing Proviron will prevent the estrogenic side effects and water retention seen while using some of the more androgenic steroids. It has also been noted that Proviron will increase levels of testosterone during a cycle. The mechanism of action for this effect is difficult to explain, but it allows for more of the synthetic testosterone employed during your cycle to be used more efficiently, and not be converted to the hormone estrogen.
Proviron is seen to be effective at dosages from 25mg all the way up to 150mg. For the reasons discussed in this article 25mg to 50mg ED is sufficient for its purpose. Another aspect worth mentioning is that Proviron should not be used post cycle. Proviron should only be used during a cycle because it is an androgen, and when coming of Proviron you could experience some negative effects with your body's natural testosterone levels.
The cost of this drug is very reasonable, so it could be a good addition to your next cycle to prevent estrogen build up.
Clomid is using in the bodybuilding community as a testosterone stimulant. This drug is used when you end a cycle of steroids to help bring your natural levels of testosterone back up to normal. Clomid's mechanism of action occurs through the hypothalamohypophysial testicular axis (HPTA).
Clomid is used to stimulate the hypophysis to release more gonadotropin so that a faster and higher release of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) occurs. By doing this, the result is an elevated endogenous (body's own) testosterone level. Needless to say this is a very important aspect when coming off a cycle of steroids and should always be employed to bring your testosterone levels back up to normal.
Clomid is usually used once you finish a cycle of steroids, and it is employed for the 2-3 weeks following it. The recommended dose of Clomid is 50mg to 100mg ED, although some will opt to do a high front load (200mg+) on the first day and continue to taper down as the days go on.
HCG is a unique drug used by male bodybuilders because of the fact that it can mimic the hormone LH (luteninizing hormone) in the body. LH is the hormone that is responsible for making testosterone in the testicles. Bodybuilders use HCG during long cycles due to the fact that after sometime on testosterone mimicking hormones the testicles will stop producing testosterone due to the use of a synthetic testosterone-mimicking drug.
HCG has significant applications to the steroid using bodybuilder due to the fact that it can help bring testosterone levels back to normal levels. This is where many will opt to employ HCG for the last 3-4 weeks of a steroid cycle.
A very important fact to note is that while using HCG you must use a drug such as Nolvadex or Clomid, and one of these (preferably both) should be used for the 2-3 weeks after using HCG, or you could end up where you started with low testosterone levels once again.
Another important aspect to note is that HCG should not be used for more than a 3-4 week period and it should also not be used at very high doses, because this could desensitize the testicles to LH, and could leave you back in a bad position.
Typically HCG is used for the 3-4 weeks towards the end of a long cycle of steroids to raise natural testosterone levels in the testicles. HCG should be administered every 5 days to every 3 days (if you opt to use it more frequently doses should be adjusted accordingly) with the first shot in the last week of your cycle.
If you opt to go every five days the first two shots should be around 3000 IU, then the second two should be 1500 IU. It would be very wise to use Nolvadex during this time, and Clomid should be using following the HCG for 2-3 weeks along with the Nolvadex.
Post Cycle Recovery Design
Moderate length Cycle
For a moderate length steroid cycle (6-8 weeks) your post cycle recovery plan should last for two to three weeks due to the length of you're "on" time. Every post cycle regimen should include an Anti-estrogen drug (Femara, Arimidex, or Nolvadex) and Clomid, a drug like HCG is not necessary for a cycle of this length.
Since I recommend an anti-estrogen throughout your cycle you should already be using one to begin with, if you want during the post cycle time you can increase the dose of this slightly for a better effect. Once the steroids have cleared from your system (depends on the esters used, but you should try to get everything cleared around the same day) Clomid therapy will begin.
Now, there are many different ways of using Clomid during Post cycle recovery, and I will outline three that I feel are very effective, and do not result in significant differences in recovery between the three.
The first is the frontload theory (this is used if you have been using moderately high doses during your cycle), which starts the first day with 200mg+ on day one, down to 150mg, to 100mg for the rest of the first week, then down to 50mg for the next two weeks.
The second starts with 50mg ED the first week, 100mg ED the second, back down to 50mg ED for the third (this is for a lighter dose cycle).
The last is to use 100mg ED for two weeks post cycle. All of these work very well in there own right, and you will have to find out which one works best for your body type and also the drugs you used during the cycle.
(4 months or more)
For a long cycle of 12 weeks or more your post cycle recovery plan should first start out with HCG. Your HCG therapy should begin during the last week of your cycle before you come off. Also, needless to say during this time you should be using an anti-estrogen to combat estrogenic side effects. HCG should be administered in four shots starting the last week of your cycle continued on to the two weeks following.
So your post cycle HCG should look like this: 3000 IU on day one, another 3000 IU 5 days later, 1500 IU 5 days later, and following up with another 1500 IU 5-7 days after that, equaling out to three weeks total.
After finishing the HCG therapy Clomid should be administered along with the anti-estrogen for two to three weeks after the HCG making your post cycle therapy a total of four to five weeks. For the Clomid therapy I believe that 100mg ED for the two to three weeks should be sufficient, although if you want you could use one of the protocols listed in the moderate length cycle section.
This article gives a very complete overview of how to construct a very effective post cycle regimen. Many people skip out on anti-estrogens due to cost and also availability, and then complain later about the steroids causing side effects such as water retention, loss of sex drive, gyno, and acne.
No cycle should start with out having the proper anti-estrogens on hand, and you should also have you post cycle drugs before you start your cycle in case for some reason you can't get them once you come off.
This happens to many people and then they are kicking themselves in the rear when the side effects hit. I hoped I provided valuable information with this article that can help people have more effective cycles while minimizing any of the side effects that are sometimes very common with steroid use.